The dual nature of things by Kate Ellis
It is not a surprise to me that I’ve picked up an old copy of Patrick Suskind’s ‘Perfume’ at this time. Telling the story of Grenouille, a murderer devoted to smell, the language evokes something intensely repulsive and erotic simultaneously. I’ve paused numerous times re-reading it during isolation, noting too how deeply potent this age of covid-19 is. It reeks of death-and-fertility, just like the book.
The dual nature of things has indeed thrust itself upon us this year. At the time of writing this, some 125,000 people have died and whole ways of living, whole industries have been swiftly decapitated, but; there are also birthing stories. Mount Everest on grand display for instance, sighted from India now that pollutions have been subtracted from the air. Businesses re-imagining themselves on line whilst their CEO’s spend as many hours playing with their children at home. And perhaps, on a more micro scale, an opportunity for individuals to come to know they are worthy of being wooed. For, in isolations great descent into the underworld, we might come to know ourselves and grow into our own spring.
In my own descent, an unexpected virility guides me to note how compelling the objects in my house are. How stirring a corner is bathed in a light I have never witnessed as I am usually at work. How moist kitchen tiles become after the kettle has boiled. Even a tap, erect at my feet whilst taking a midday bath, seems capable of seeding something new.
My spring indeed seems so close and yet the world’s winter has only just been initiated by this unforeseen rite of passage. The one that has come to remind us that creation is a rich desert. A ‘sometimes food’; otherwise an invitation to Grenouille’s rotted affairs.